Our team has identified novel allosteric enhancers of the CB1 receptor and have demonstrated their therapeutic benefits in the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain, and are now investigating their potential for the treatment of depression and for the treatment of anxiety.
Cannabinoid receptors have been found to produce both beneficial and harmful effects: most notably CB1 receptor agonists can provide vital pain relief in conditions where NSAIDs and opiates are of little use e.g. multiple sclerosis and cancer. However, this use is limited by the associated psychoactive CNS side-effects. Allosteric enhancers of the CB1 receptor may offer the prospect of novel analgesics and anti-depressants devoid of these side-effects.
Review: Ross, R.A. (2007). Allosterism and cannabinoid CB1 receptors: the shape of things to come. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. 28: 567-572.
Funding: BBSRC Follow-on Fund, Canadian Institutes of Health Proof of Principle Phase I and Phase II, Signal Pharma
Project Team: Dr Iain Greig and Professor Ruth Ross